France protests: Latest developments

A round-up of the latest news of the struggle against the French CPE employment law, including school occupations and road blockades.

Submitted by alibi on March 29, 2006

French press comment on crisis
Read the BBC's summary of French press analysis.

Boulevard Peripherique blocked this morning
The Boulevard Peripherique, was blocked earlier today by anti-CPE protestors. Early in the morning, about a hundred protesters peacefully blocked the ring road with traffic cones and random material found in nearby roadworks. The group rapidly broke up and it seems no one was arrested.

Those involved said that "as we have seen, when we remain on the given route of a major demonstration, the government does not really care. And the bold and motivated youth that stay at the end of the demonstration get arrested in numbers. We need to strike where it hurts, i.e. block the economy's machinery. Blitz actions and other blockades are an interesting lead."

Minister for Education considers de-blocking schools
The Minister for National Education, Gilles de Robien, spoke to Europe 1, saying that the demonstrations of Tuesday against the CPE "were significant but certainly not impressive". He went on the say that "tomorrow, it is necessary that the high-school pupils really return in their college, because if not they will waste part of their future, they will waste their school year".

More on the day of action April 4th
Meanwhile, The inter-union of the 12 trade unions of employees, of students and high-school pupils asked today for "the President of the Republic [Jacques Chirac] to use his prerogative so that the CPE is withdrawn"

"The marked inflexibility of the Prime Minister can only reinforce the determination of the trade-union organizations to continue the action" added education trade union UNSA.

Occupation of Departementale Office of Work and Employment Press release
A press release from students and high-school pupils of Toulouse, following the occupation of the buildings of the departmental direction of work and employment:

We, student colleges and high-school pupils of Toulouse in fight, occupied the buildings of the Departmental Management of Work and Employment. This action was taken within the framework of our fight for the defense of the fair labour standards act, which employers wants to get rid in order to make yet more profits from labour.

Because of the contempt with which the government holds this increasingly popular and massive movement, us, student and high-school pupils of Toulouse in fight, decided to radicalize our actions. This occupation is only one first step in this way, and we will not in the future hesitate to even reiterate or harden this kind of action. We are determined to continue our movement as long as the government will not compromise on our demands, namely the withdrawal of the law of Equal opportunity and the abrogation of the CNE. It is only in then that we will agree to negotiate, knowing that if the government obstine in his speech we will be called with his resignation. It is today for our future that we fight and for this reason we will not compromise.

The committee of fight of the students and high school pupils of the University of Mirail

Le Mans students plan blockades
Meanwhile, Ouest France reports that anti-CPE students plan to block the Le Mans by-pass tomorrow. Nearly 600 students of the University of Maine in Le Mans met this afternoon in a general assembly. They voted in favour of blocking the by-pass tomorrow at the end of the morning.